Media that mixes two or more languages?

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Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby cntrational » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:54 pm UTC

In bilingual areas, people tend to switch between two languages while talking with each other (I do this myself, in fact), sometimes even in mid-sentence! I've always wondered if anybody has ever written literature or sung songs that mix languages together like this.

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Lazar » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:58 pm UTC

In War and Peace, Tolstoy injects a lot of French dialog into the otherwise Russian text, because French was the language of the Russian aristocracy.
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Velifer » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:07 am UTC

Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam made fun of people for doing this in The Praise of Folly, written in 1509.
So the practice has a long and annoying history.
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:06 am UTC

Lots of Japanese songs will throw in an English phrase or two and it shows up in advertisements occasionally.

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby cntrational » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:44 am UTC

No, I don't mean just using foreign words -- I mean actively mixing languages, using grammatical features from both; "code-switching". Wikipedia gives a Spanish-English example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_switc ... -switching

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Derek » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:25 am UTC

I've seen Japanese songs that actively use English. This one switches between Japanese and English for whole lines. This one has more fine grained switches (including mid-sentence).

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby gaurwraith » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:03 pm UTC

Happens a lot in magreb countries... it's not only that their Arabic dialects have a lot of foreign words, but that they are very used to speaking in French, so even when trying to speak in classical Arabic they will switch to French, I hear this a lot on the radio. (Also found in TV)

They will also throw in French sentences even if there is a similar way to say what they want in dialect...

ed. actually answering to your question, there's a lot of French-Arabic rap, mainly made in france but surely there will be other styles.
French is found too in Arabic literature
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby comet » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:56 am UTC

Singapore, Malaysia, etc. provide great examples.

Contemporary Japanese and Korean are by nature 'mixed languages'. However, since the ancient Chinese components have been mixed in for thousands of years, some of them could now be considered uniquely and natively Japanese / Korean.

Cantonese (especially of the HongKong variety) is heavy with Western influence.

Mandarin and Cantonese pass grammar and vocabulary into each other constantly.

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Alexius » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:42 am UTC

There are plenty of bands outside Japan who mix languages. The first one I thought of was Rammstein- Amerika and Pussy are in a mixture of German and English, while Moskau is in a mixture of German and Russian.

Some of Ensiferum's songs (Lai Lai Hei is the first one I can think of) are in a mixture of English and Finnish.

The Klezmatics mix Yiddish and English for a lot of their songs, such as Man in a Hat and I Ain't Afraid.

The winner (possibly) is Oi Va Voi, whose song Dissident mixes Hebrew and Hungarian (the band are native English speakers from the UK).

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Sir Novelty Fashion » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:22 pm UTC

Doesn't the Trinosophia of St-Germain mix languages?
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Velifer » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:02 pm UTC

Rosetta stone.
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Makri » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:30 pm UTC

Having one and the same text in three languages in a sequence is hardly mixing...
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:45 pm UTC

Or is it?
autne est?
ἡ ἔστιν;

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Makri » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:47 pm UTC

Nein, ist es nicht. Es ist eine Wiederholung des Texts in einer anderen Sprache.

No, it's not. It's repeating the text in another language.
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:50 pm UTC

I can't take you seriously when you only write your post in two languages.
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby gaurwraith » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:02 pm UTC

لكن، اختلاط اللغلت يعني
usar diferentes lenguajes
to express yourself, and not mere translation, 동의?
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Joeldi » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:01 am UTC

Ek is jealous Multilingualの人に。
...Hmm...combining completely different grammars in one sentence...probably a bad idea.
I already have a hate thread. Necromancy > redundancy here, so post there.

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Link » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:40 am UTC

Though neither literature nor music, Firefly is the best example I know: Chinese phrases are thrown around easily in a mostly-English conversation. It's not used too excessively because (1) the target audience cannot be expected to know Chinese and (2) the actors aren't fluent in it, but it's still common.

I recently read the book Het beloofde land (The promised land) by the Dutch author Adriaan van Dis; it uses a lot of Afrikaans, since it's not too difficult for Dutch-speakers to understand.

Finally, the U2 song Miss Sarajevo contains a bit of Italian sung by Pavarotti, although it's not really code-switched as such.

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby mzellman » Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:37 pm UTC

Does A Clockwork Orange count?

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:19 pm UTC

No, as I recall, the non-English in Clockwork was supposed to English slang of the future and didn't add or modify grammar.

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Sir Novelty Fashion » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:01 am UTC

Makri wrote:Having one and the same text in three languages in a sequence is hardly mixing...

Exactly. If the Rosetta Stone counts, then so does the Complutensian Polyglot. :P

From Petronius:
Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Σίβυλλα τί θέλεις; respondebat illa: ἀποθανεῖν θέλω.

And, indeed, The Burial of the Dead, more generally:
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Frisch weht der Wind
Der heimat zu
Mein Irisch kind,
Wo weilest du?

"You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;"
"They called me the hyacinth girl."
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby animeHrmIne » Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:06 am UTC

Japanese band Love Psychedelico tends to do this quite a bit in their music. I don't speak Japanese, so I don't know how it sounds when they switch, but the English is pretty good considering the girl who wrote it only lived in the US a few years.

Some examples:

Everybody Needs Someone

Fantastic World

Moonly

Last Smile
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Velifer » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:59 pm UTC

My point with the examples is that this is so incredibly common as to be hardly worth noting. It's been going on for centuries if not millenia. For at least centuries, it's been a way of tipping a hat to those who know two languages, making the writer (and the reader who understands) seem more worldly (or pompous), or at best, expressing something succinctly in one language that's a bit clumsy to get across in another.

I know a guy who would get drunk and code switch constantly. Since he spoke six languages, nobody ever knew what the hell he was going on about.
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby cntrational » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:57 am UTC

Velifer, not to be rude, but I don't think you know what we're talking about. We're not talking about using foreign words in an otherwise native text or having the same thing written in multiple languages, we're talking about mixing languages side-by-side within the same text, switching between the two languages, even mid-sentence. If you've ever heard a group of bilinguals speak to each other, you'll know what I mean. I have seen this in speech, but I've almost never seen it in anything else, except music. If it really is so common, why don't you provide some examples?

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Velifer » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:03 pm UTC

Yes, I've heard. You want something more like Ahmadou Kourouma's novels written in French, Malinke, and his own creole?

But even the examples given in music are foreign words in otherwise native text, just like the dialog in George du Maurier's novels or works by the literary ambulance drivers.
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Re: Media that mixes three or more languages?

Postby cntrational » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:50 am UTC

[quote=Velifer]Yes, I've heard. You want something more like Ahmadou Kourouma's novels written in French, Malinke, and his own creole?[/quote]Hm, yeah, this seems more like what I have in mind.

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Re: Media that mixes three or more languages?

Postby Velifer » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:17 pm UTC

Ok, but realize, he's considered to be a Francophone (Francoscribe!) author. His texts are predominantly French. Even in music where such is common, it's Japanese music with some English phrases (or whole verses) thrown in... or it's a German band singing Irish songs in English (Tears for Beers). This is going to be more common in music, where the lyrics don't always matter much, than it will be in fiction or weather reports. If you want to stretch things a bit, Tolkein wrote in three languages, even though he invented two of them.

At one silly extreme, I'd argue that English is a whore of a language, and anyone speaking it is already using stolen words and grammar from dozens of languages and dialects (and by extension, the same could be said of PIE and whatever predated that). At the other extreme, there's hair-splitting between what exactly is mixing distinct languages, a creole, and a whole new language born of the mix.

If you want to really go down that rabbit hole, look for literature in Shelta, Cappadocian Greek, Light Warlpiri, or Erromintxela. Finding trade paperbacks on Amazon may be difficult though. Since there are only around 500 speakers of Erromintxela, I don't think a publisher would be interested in that market. Go to Basque country, and I'd guess you'd find some cookbooks, diaries, and other personal papers (which would count as media).
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Re: Media that mixes three or more languages?

Postby Velifer » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:19 pm UTC

...and I hit the word filter festival with that post.
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Re: Media that mixes three or more languages?

Postby gaurwraith » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:19 am UTC

I was reading it and some previous ones last night (Spain time) and I didn't realize something was wrong but instead I started looking the weird dialects up in Wikipedia. Are the weird dialects modified or for real?
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Re: Media that mixes three or more languages?

Postby cntrational » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:50 am UTC

Is it me, or is someone changing the topic title?

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Re: Media that mixes three or more languages?

Postby cntrational » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:53 am UTC

oh, right, the first of april

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby animeHrmIne » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:00 am UTC

I finally figured out what was bothering me about this thread title: Media is plural and mixes is a singular conjugation. Shouldn't it be "Media that mix two or more languages" or "Medium that mixes . . ."?

Of course, I could be wrong. I'm very, very tired.
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:19 am UTC

Plurals derived from the Latin neuter plural and Greek neuter plural (both /-a/), have a tendency to be reanalyzed as singular because English speakers are unfamiliar with -a as an inflectional morpheme. If it makes you feel better, Greek (at least in Koine and early Byzantine) used singular verb endings for plural neuter nouns. Personally, I've always thought fidelity to Greek and Latin inflections was silly, since we never decline for a non-nominative case, even when the noun isn't the subject. Although ! Doing that would qualify as code-switching. Has anyone seen someone do that?

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Lazar » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:34 am UTC

One interesting thing is that (as best they can tell) Proto-Indo-European originally had two genders - animate (the Latin/Greek masculine) in -os, inanimate (the Latin/Greek neuter) in -om - and the feminine was later constructed from the inanimate plural -a. IIRC there were some words that remained variable for a while, like "aquom" (the Old Latin word for "water"), whose plural form "aqua" came to be reanalyzed as a feminine singular noun.
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Sir Novelty Fashion » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:24 pm UTC

So that's where the -om ending in Old Latin comes from! I've been wondering about "Luciom Scipione" for a while, thanks. :)
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Velifer » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:32 pm UTC

animeHrmIne wrote:Media is plural

Also, media is usually a mass noun these days.
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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Ley » Wed May 04, 2011 6:45 am UTC

it's true. when people speak more than one language, especially if the person they're speaking to also speaks those languages, there is a lot of switching back and forth, using phrases from another language in the middle of a sentence, responding in a different language, etc... also, especially with children, there is a lot of using grammar from the wrong language- bilingual (Hebrew and English speaking) children often say "save on this for me" instead of saying "watch this for me" because that's how it is in Hebrew. and a there are a lot of Israeli singers who either use English words in songs or write songs that are completely in English.

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby tastelikecoke » Sat May 07, 2011 8:36 am UTC

Happens all the time in Tagalog.

Saan ba nakakabili ng glue? I thought it was at the tindahan somewhere pero I could not find it na. Maybe naout-of-stock na sila.
Where can you buy glue? I thought it was at the store somewhere but I could not find it anymore. Maybe they're out of stock.

It's ugly imo, but it's used here everywhere, especially in songs.

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby Slavaa » Sat May 07, 2011 8:48 pm UTC

French Canadian singer Coeur de Pirate has a song, which is mostly French, but one line is "Tu dis que I'm your only one, c'est ca, prends moi pour une conne," (which means something like"You say that 'I'm your only one,' that's it, take me for an idiot.")

Also, people in New Brunswick do this all the time: "Wait here, je vais driver au store and acheter somet'ing to drink."

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Re: Media that mixes two or more languages?

Postby anschelsc » Fri May 27, 2011 8:54 pm UTC

Basque-Galician-Spanish-French singer Manu Chao does this all the time. He sings songs in various languages, and also frequently mixes two or more in one song.


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